Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances of All Times

Photo of author

Updated On

7. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged, November 18, 1993

[youtube id=”OkKpeXPEAic” width=”600″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

American grunge band formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and Bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987 is yet another finest bands in music history. They have had continuous change of drummers, the long-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined them in 1990. They were active for seven years and during that period they released three full-length studio albums. Nirvana is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important bands of the modern era. They have managed to sell over 75 million albums worldwide. They are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the band’s first year of eligibility.

When MTV finally signed Nirvana to appear on their unplugged series, it set the wheels in motion for what would go on to become one of the most intense performances ever. From the very beginning it was clear that the show would be one of a kind. The choices of little known band the Meat Puppets as guests and a setlist which had very few recognizable songs of Nirvana were clear signs of what was to come. Additionally, frontman Kurt Cobain requested the stage to be designed to look like that of a funeral. To match it he gave a haunting yet moving performance that night with outstanding versions of lesser known Nirvana songs such as ‘About A Girl’ alongside incredible cover of tracks such as David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ and ‘Lake Of Fire’. The band closed the set with their brilliant rendition of ‘All Apologies’ and ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ which were so perfect that Cobain refused to return to the stage for the planned encore performance.

6. Jimi Hendrix – Monterey Pop Festival, California

[youtube id=”vi3O8Um2VEY” width=”600″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician, singer and songwriter.and is widely considered as the most influential guitarist in the history of popular music. Hendrix is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame states him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of music.”

Jimi Hendrix was already popular in Europe but had not yet broken through in his home country. On June 18, 1967 a stoned Hendrix played to a large U.S crowd for the first time. His dynamic set at Monterey truly established him for the first time in U.S.A. While he performed his magic on songs like ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Purple Haze’ the priceless reaction of the crowd was captured in films and photographs; some were tripping at the music being played while others were listening with their mouths wide open in clear astonishment. However, it was his final act that made him a star. It was after his final song, a cover of the Trogg’s ‘Wild Thing’, Hendrix set his instrument on fire and smashed it onstage. It was all captured on cameras which went on to become his most iconic image. Additionally, this festival will also be forever remembered as the coming out party of a certain Janis Joplin.

5. Pink Floyd – The Wall concert

[youtube id=”Eft35OGDiGo” width=”600″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

English band Pink Floyd was formed in 1965 and they’ve earned international acclaim with their psychedelic and progressive music. Considered to be the most influential bands in the history of music, they are ranked 51 in the “100 Greatest Artist of all Time” in the list published by Rolling Stone magazine. Pink Floyd is also one of the most commercially successful bands with over 250 million albums sold worldwide. The founding members were Syd Barret, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright. In December, 1967 David Gilmour joined the band as the fifth member.

Pink Floyd were also known for their extravagant live shows and visual theatrics but The Wall concert upped that reputation to the next level, and turned it into a legend. The Wall Tour was a concert tour by the band in support of their concept album The Wall. These shows took place around the world in different venues between February 1980 and June 1981. The tour was noteworthy for its extensive use of stage theatrics, most notably a giant wall constructed across the stage to express the sense of alienation present in both the album, and the personal feelings of Roger Waters at the time. Each show required exceptional cooperation between the musicians, crew, lighting engineers and computer programmers. Other highlights of the show included a 30-foot-high teacher puppet, a scorpion wife and other such animated characters. These were the last show that Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Dave Gilmour, and Nick Mason performed together before the Live 8 show in July 2005.

4. Elvis Presley live on The Ed Sullivan Show

[youtube id=”1_vZqsj2rSA” width=”600″ height=”340″ position=”left”]

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 10, 1977) was an American singer, musician and actor and is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll” or simply as “the King”. Elvis is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. His estimated album sales are around 600 million copies worldwide.

On October 28, 1956 Elvis made his second of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan show. He performed songs such as ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, ‘Love Me Tender’, and ‘Love Me’, and closed the evening with his hit song ‘Hound dog’. During the show Elvis performed some provocative movements. However, the show was a massive success as over 60 million viewers watched the show. This firmly established him a spot in the pop culture despite being seen as too provocative and explicit by many. Angry crowd burned his effigy in Nashville and St. Louis while the press was also critical of his style. There was growing opposition supposedly against his negative influence on America’s youth. However, the more the establishment pushed back, his popularity and support grew by millions amongst the teenage American.

Spread the love

1 thought on “Top 10 Greatest Live Musical Performances of All Times”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.